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A testamentary disposition of land or realty; a gift of real property by the last will and testament of the donor. When used as a noun, it means a testamentary disposition of real or Personal Property, and when used as a verb, it means to dispose of real or personal property by will. To contrive; plan; scheme; invent; prepare.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1) v. an old-fashioned word for giving real property by a will, as distinguished from words for giving personal property. 2) n. the gift of real property by will. (See: gift, bequest, legacy, remise, will)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


to dispose of property by will.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

DEVISE. A devise is a disposition of real property by a person's last will and testament, to tale effect after the testator's death.
     2. Its form is immaterial, provided the instrument is to take effect after the death of the party; and a paper in the form of an indenture, which is to have that effect, is considered as a devise. Finch. 195 6 Watts, 522; 3 Rawle, 15; 4 Desaus. 617, 313; 1 Mod. 117; 1 Black. R. 345.
     3. The term devise, properly and technically, applies only to real estate the object of the devise must therefore be that kind of property. 1 Hill. Ab. ch. 36, n. 62 to 74. Devise is also sometimes improperly applied to a bequest or legacy. (q.v.) Vide 2 Bouv. Inst. n. 2095, et seq; 4 Kent, Com. 489 8 Vin. Ab. 41 Com. Dig. Estates by Devise.
     4. In the Year Book, 9 H. VI. 24, b. A. D. 1430, Babington says, the nature of a devise, when lands are devisable, is, that one can devise that his lands shall be sold by executors and this is good. And a devise in such form has always been in use. And so a man may have frank tenement of him who had nothing, in the same manner as one may have fire from a flint, and yet there is no fire in the flint. But it is to perform the last will of the devisor.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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